Excerpt from the patent specification
5.1 Universal Arbitration Subsystem
A Universal Arbitration Subsystem is also provided to further facilitate informational and commercial transactions and interactions between users of the UAML and USE subsystems.
The UArb subsystem allows users to form a community by contracting with an intermediary such that members of the UArb community are bound to submit their disputes to alternative dispute resolution.
A method of creation, deployment, and use of the UArb subsystem appears in flowchart form in FIG. 124. First, a drafting team, including representatives from the legal profession, insurance industry, consumer advocacy groups, and other interested parties, is formed 12401 to create a preliminary draft of the Universal Arbitration Agreement (UAA) 12402. The UET Company then publishes the preliminary draft for public comment 12403. After the public comment period ends, the drafting team incorporates these comments 12404. When the drafting team approves the final draft 12405, the final official draft is registered at the copyright office and the copyright registration number is added to the official draft for the reasons discussed in reference to the UTOU subsystem above 12406. The official draft is then published on the UET Company website 12407.
The UET Company optionally arranges any agreements with insurance companies or other parties who may wish to offer incentives to encourage users to participate in the UArb subsystem 12408. The UArb system is then made available 12409 so that a user can register by agreeing to the Universal Arbitration Agreement 12410. Such agreement establishes privity of contract between the agreeing user and the UET Company, which serves as an intermediary in the UArb subsystem as described below. Other users also agree to the UAA 12411, and a new record is created in the UAA participants database for each participant.
Thereafter, if a third party, such as an insurance company, needs to verify that the agreeing user has agreed to the UAA, the UET Company can provide a certificate indicating the agreeing user’s party status and the expiration date of the current UAA agreement between the agreeing user and the UET Company 12412.
In the event that a dispute later arises between two users who have both agreed to the UAA during the effective term of both parties’ agreements 12413, both agreeing users are obligated to submit that dispute to binding arbitration 12414. If one of the agreeing users so obligated refuses arbitration 12415, enforcement of the arbitration duty can be pursued by the other agreeing user or by the UET Company directly, or the cause of action can be assigned to someone else for enforcement 12416. Otherwise, the dispute is settled through arbitration per the UAA 12417, and the parties thereby enjoy considerable savings in terms of time and money in avoiding litigation through the court system. Additional benefits are described in the chart in FIG. 127.
FIG. 125 depicts the party relationships described above. Specifically, a first agreeing user 12502 forms a binding UAA contract with the UET Company 12501. A second agreeing user 12503 also forms a binding UAA contract with the UET Company 12501. The terms of the UAA provide that any agreeing user agrees to submit disputes with third parties to binding arbitration when said third parties have also agreed to the UAA. These terms create a mutual “third party beneficiary” relationship between one agreeing user and another agreeing user.
FIG. 126 depicts the party relationships described above so as to include an insurer 12604. The insurer 12604, in order to incentivize users to participate in the UArb subsystem, may offer premium discounts to users who agree to the UAA. A separate agreement, establishing privity of contract between the insurer 12604 and an agreeing user 12602, may thereby be formed. The insurer 12604 may wish to make such an offer to users so as to reduce its exposure to litigation costs. The UET Company 12601 thereby establishes a third-party beneficiary relationship between a first user 12602 and a second user 12603.
FIG. 128 depicts an excerpt from an example web page, hosted by the UET Company, that contains an embodiment of a version of the Universal Arbitration Agreement.
FIG. 129 depicts an excerpt from an example certificate through which the UET Company certifies that an agreeing user has agreed to the UAA.
The UAML/UTU subsystem and UArb subsystem can be integrated to enhance the functionality of each other. Specifically, when a UTU user visits a UAML-enabled listing of a website provider who has agreed to the UAA, information can be transmitted from the UET Company to the UTU indicating that the website provider is a UArb subsystem participant. The UTU can then display an icon informing the UTU user of the website provider’s UArb status.
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